In Early August (I told you I was behind in blogging), I went to Mt Rainier, staying in Ashford, WA just outside of Mt. Rainier national Park.
The mountain from another side -
Many wildflowers were blooming while I was at Mt. Rainier, even though I heard that it was several weeks away from the peak bloom. Below is a field of Magenta Paintbrush, then a close-up.
And a close-up of an orange paintbrush-
For those interested in a botany lesson – the magenta and the orange is not the bloom. It is a bract, that’s a modified leaf (Yes, I do remember something from my Botany classes!). Bracts are more common than you may think – That beautiful Bougainvillea flower, isn’t a flower – it’s a bract. So are poinsettias and dogwoods. I love asking people what color the dogwood bloom is (they typically say white or pink depending on the tree), but the actual bloom is probably yellow or green. Next time you see a dogwood look closely at it and you may see several yellow or green blooms inside of the white or pink” bloom (see http://www.all-creatures.org/pica/ftshl-dogwood.html for some pictures). I think the yellow in the picture of the paintbrush above is the actual flower.
Below is a Pasque flower. I believe this is actually the seed head and not the flower. One of them reminded me of Cousin It from the Addams Family.
On my last day in Ashford, I drove back to Mt. Saint Helens. It was a bit overcast, but at least I could see the mountain this time.
Some of the area has grown back, you can see the new forest as you drive towards the mountain. But some of the area looks the same as it did just after the blast, back in 1980. In the picture below you can see some trees starting to grow back.